ABC News’ Katie Conway:
Cassandra Bankson, the teen whose makeup routine to cover up her acne-plagued skin made her into a YouTube sensation, started the next chapter of her life, landing a spot on the runway during New York Fashion Week.
A confident Bankson walked the runway at the Stacey Igel’s “Boy Meets Girl” show in New York City Wednesday night, proudly putting a past of being bullied for her acne-ridden skin behind her.
“I’m a small town girl who sits in her living room and films videos all day and now…I’m in New YorkFashion Week,” Bankson said backstage. “It’s still a dream. I am so thankful.”
The 19-year-old first achieved Internet stardom after posting makeup tutorials on YouTube with her concealing tips, revealing how she covered her acne-ridden skin before heading out to face the world. In the videos, Bankson talks to her 45 million viewers, first in full makeup, but then strips off the layers of foundation, concealer and powder to reveal pimples and blemishes.
“I had no idea so many people faced similar problems,” she said. “My videos and definitely my ‘GMA’ appearance allowed me to connect with them.”
Bankson appeared on “Good Morning America” back in December 2011 and told co-anchor Robin Roberts about the bullies who tormented her and how she dreaded leaving her house. Instead she would stay in, researching makeup techniques and practicing on herself. To get out of the misery she felt in high school, she also devoted herself to her studies and managed to graduate two years early.
“I was a total recluse. I didn’t want to talk to or see anyone because of my skin,” Bankson said. Now, she said those same bullies that tormented her in school and are friending her on Facebook.
Today, Bankson says her skin condition is 70 percent improved. She continues to pay regular visits to the dermatologist.
The young California native, now in her second year of college, says her journey has made want to pursue a career in dermatology so she can continue to help others with acne and other skin conditions. Until then, she plans to keep modeling. In addition to last night’s runway show, through Explore Modeling, she has already shot ads with Bebe and Range Rover.
Although she’s modeling, Bankson’s message continues to be one of inner-beauty.
“Models shouldn’t be modeling perfection because there is no such thing,” she said. “We should be modeling our imperfections.”